In September 2007, executives at CMS Gas Transmission Co. had good reason to believe that the company would soon be getting a sizable check in the mail. The Michigan energy firm had been the first of dozens of foreign multinationals to file damages claims against the government of Argentina following that country’s peso devaluation in early 2002. Now, a review panel had just upheld a 2005 judgment by arbitrators at the CMS Gas Transmission Co.International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes that Argentina owed CMS $133.2 million for losses attributed to Argentina’s mishandling of the crisis.

But Argentina didn’t pay CMS a penny. And after several months of lobbying Argentina to cut a check, CMS transferred the award — on undisclosed terms — to a Bank of America Corp. subsidiary specializing in distressed debts. (Counsel for Bank of America declined to comment on the matter.)